Happiness Reflection Guide – September 27, 2019
Read: Philippians 2:1-11
“1 Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
(NIV Philippians 2:1-11)
Study: Verses 6-11, which Paul probably quoted from an early Christian hymn, weren’t just pious “church talk.” Verses 2-4 of chapter 2 (and Philippians 4:2-3) show that there was a real conflict between two influential women in the church and their followers. Living out the spirit of Jesus, Paul was sure, could return them to peace and blessedness. Does “with humility think of others as better than yourselves” (verse 3) mean we should think ourselves worse than others? The Message gives a clearer sense of Paul’s intent: “Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.” How can you live this in business? At church? In school settings? At home? Sports? In any area where rivalry with others disrupts your peace? If Jesus “did not consider being equal with God something to exploit,” but “emptied himself,” what does that say about the essence of the blessed life he offers us? When have you been able to humbly harness your own power for the good of another?
Prayer: God, you have shown the power in humility. May I imitate your example and share the happiness I find in your comfort. Amen.